Recording client work helps me to analyse the work I actually do with clients rather than the work I ‘think’ I do. Listening to the recording as well as sharing the contents with my counselling supervisor are also ways in which evaluation takes place.
Some people may wonder why I have not mentioned the need for evaluation and research in helping us communicate our effectiveness with the outside world. After all, we now live in an increasingly research-driven world of effectiveness and efficiency.
The reason is simple.
I believe developing a personal passion for evaluation will automatically lead to an interest in research. It is almost impossible to question one’s own work without thinking of a wider audience.
Perhaps evaluation smacks of research and research statistics. As someone who likes to call themselves ‘numerically challenged’ I can understand some of the fears counsellors may have towards research and statistics. However evaluation does not have to be numerically driven.
Evaluation is about a desire to try and understand what is happening, what is going well or not and why. Evaluation helps us identify areas of further training and rather than being bureaucratic and be liberating.
After all, aren’t counsellors supposed to be curious, and what could satisfy our curiosity more than exploring our own practice?